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Master's Theses and Capstones Student Scholarship

Fall 2015

A Culturally Appropriate Cognitive Assessment


Screening for Bhutanese Refugees
Holly Milligan
University of New Hampshire - Main Campus

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Running head: A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT

A Culturally Appropriate Cognitive Assessment Screening for Bhutanese Refugees

By

Holly Milligan

Bachelors of Science, California Polytechnic State University, 2009

CAPSTONE PROJECT

Submitted to the University of New Hampshire

in Partial Fulfillment of

the Requirements for the Degree of

Master of Science

in

Nursing

September, 2015
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT

This Capstone Project has been examined and approved.

___________________________________
Pamela DiNapoli, RN, PhD, CNL
Committee Chairperson

___________________________________
Date
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT iii

DEDICATION

This quality improvement project is dedicated to the Patrice L. Engle, Ph.D. (1944-2012).

Dr. Engle was a Professor of Psychology and Child Development at California Polytechnic State

University, San Luis Obispo since 1980. Dr. Engle was an internationally recognized expert in

child nutrition, education and women’s health. As the Senior Advisor for United Nations

Children's Educational Fund (UNICEF) in Early Childhood Development, she spent time in

India and New York, as well as with the World Health Organization in Geneva and International

Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. Dr. Engle’s research encompassed the

theme of caring and the impact of poverty on child development, and the role of family

members. Above all, Dr. Engle was a supportive, loving, and inspirational Professor that will

forever be remembered.
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This quality improvement project would not have been possible without the support and

dedication of Karen Decker-Gendron, Pat Finn, Dipak Pokhrel, Tina Parris, Rory Richardson,

Kim Martin, Emily Allen, and the rest of the Concord Hospital Family Health Center staff. To

my dear family and friends in California, Arizona, Nebraska, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas,

North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Ireland, Italy, France, and England, thank you for your love

and patience. Lastly, a very special thanks to the UNH Nursing Department, especially Dr.

DiNapoli, and my comrades of the 11th cohort.


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT v

TABLE OF CONTENTS

DEDICATION............................................................................................................................... iii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS........................................................................................................... iv

LIST OF TABLES........................................................................................................................ vii

LIST OF FIGURES......................................................................................................................viii

ABSTRACT.................................................................................................................................. ix

INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................... 1

GLOBAL PROBLEM.................................................................................................................... 1

Definitions.......................................................................................................................... 1

Refugee................................................................................................................... 1

Culturally appropriate or competent care.............................................................. 2

Cognitive Impairment............................................................................................ 2

LOCAL PROBLEM....................................................................................................................... 2

EVIDENCE OF THE PROBLEM.................................................................................................. 3

LITERATURE REVIEW............................................................................................................... 6

GLOBAL AIM.............................................................................................................................. 10

SPECIFIC AIM............................................................................................................................. 10

METHODS................................................................................................................................... 11

Setting............................................................................................................................... 11

Theoretical Framework..................................................................................................... 12

Intended Improvement...................................................................................................... 12

RESULTS..................................................................................................................................... 14
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT vi

CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................. 16

Recommendations................................................................................................. 16

Limitations............................................................................................................ 17

Implications for the Clinical Nurse Leader........................................................... 17

REFERENCES ............................................................................................................................ 19

APPENDICES.............................................................................................................................. 22

APPENDIX A MONTREAL COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT...................................................... 23

APPENDIX B SURVEY OF NURSES........................................................................................ 24

APPENDIX C SURVEY OF PROVIDERS ................................................................................ 28

APPENDIX D ROWLAND UNIVERSAL DEMENTIA ASSESSMENT SCALE.................... 32

APPENDIX E INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL.......................................... 34


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT vii

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE 1 QUALITATIVE COMPARISON OF CATEGORIES OF THE MOCA

AND RUDAS............................................................................................................................... 13

TABLE 2 SEVERITY OF IMPAIRMENT OF MOCA AND RUDAS...................................... 14

TABLE 3 COMPARISONS OF MOCA AND RUDAS SCORES WITH BHUTANESE

REFUGEES.................................................................................................................................. 15

TABLE 4 QUALITATIVE OBSERVATIONS OF MOCA AND RUDAS................................ 15


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT viii

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE 1 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS IDENTIFIED BY NURSES USING THE

MOCA WITH REFUGEES.......................................................................................................... 4

FIGURE 2 CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS IDENTIFIED BY PROVIDERS USING THE

MOCA WITH REFUGEES.......................................................................................................... 5


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT ix

Abstract

A Culturally Appropriate Cognitive Assessment Screening for Bhutanese Refugees

Holly Milligan, BS, RN


University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire

Background: As the incidence of cognitive impairment continues to rise, timely and accurate
diagnoses are essential.

Aim: The aim of this quality improvement project was to evaluate the standard cognitive
assessment screening for Bhutanese refugees in a medical home, and compare an alternative,
validated, and potentially more culturally appropriate tool. Also, an assessment of provider,
nurse and interpreter satisfaction with the two tools was performed.

Method: Mixed methods including qualitative observations and quantitative satisfaction surveys
related to the implementation of a culturally appropriate cognitive assessment tool.

Results: When assessed with the standard tool, all 10 people screened positive for cognitive
impairment. However, when using the alternative tool on the same sample, 4 of the 7 people
screened positive, but with less impairment. Accounting for this difference was language,
literacy and a different alphabet. Results of the pre-and-post surveys indicated an increase in
provider, nurse and interpreter satisfaction with the alternative cognitive assessment screening
tool with Bhutanese refugees.

Conclusion and Implications for CNL Practice: Providing culturally appropriate screening
tools in diverse populations potentially decreases the chance of misdiagnosis and under-
diagnosis. The validated alternative tool has the potential of providing more accurate and
timelier diagnoses, resulting in a higher level of patient and family-centered care and
satisfaction. Limitations and Clinical Nurse Leader implications will be discussed.

Key Words: Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale, Montreal Cognitive Assessment,
cognitive impairment, culturally appropriate, refugees, Bhutanese
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 1

A Culturally Appropriate Cognitive Assessment Screening for Bhutanese Refugees

In the United States, an estimated 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease,

costing an estimated $226 billion in healthcare annually (Alzheimer’s Association, 2015). By

2050, 16 million Americans are estimated to be living with the disease, increasing costs to $1.1

trillion per year (Alzheimer’s Association, 2015). A high incidence of undiagnosed cognitive

impairment exists, and in turn there is an increased risk of harm; driving, activities of daily

living, financial decisions are a few of the aspects that may be impacted. Therefore, timely and

accurate diagnosis and treatment of cognitive impairment identifies the need for community

support and resources. Additionally, patients and families are then able to plan for financial and

legal decisions before the disease progresses (Sayegh & Knight, 2013). Family members are

also able to address their own health needs by receiving genetic screening.

Global Problem

Over the past 35 years, nearly 3 million refugees have resettled in the United States, and

the numbers continue to rise each year (Cultural Orientation Resource Center, 2015). While the

incidence of dementia increases, presumably an increase in the use of cognitive assessment tools

will ensue. As the United States is often referred to as a “melting pot,” the accuracy of available

cognitive assessment screening tools must be assessed in diverse populations. Providing

efficient, effective and culturally appropriate care is essential in this vulnerable population.

Definitions

Refugee. According to New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services

(2010), “refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of

persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political

opinion, or membership in a particular social group” (p. 1).


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 2

Culturally appropriate or competent care. Culturally competent care involves

tailoring and adjusting the approach, services, and overall care to a patient’s background, while

remaining cognizant of their beliefs, values, and social constructs (Betancourt, Green, & Carrillo,

2002).

Cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment is on a spectrum and can range from mild

to severe. This impairment includes, but is not limited to, being unable to learn new things,

difficulty remembering, to losing the ability to talk or write (Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention, 2011).

Local Problem

Approximately 200 refugees from around the world arrive locally each year and initiate

their healthcare at the Concord Hospital Family Health Center (FHC). FHC is the only medical

home that provides primary care to this population in the immediate area. Therefore, it is

especially crucial that culturally competent and appropriate care be provided from the micro to

macro-system levels. In an effort to provide the most culturally appropriate care to the largest

population of refugees at FHC, an evaluation of the Bhutanese in this healthcare system was

performed.

Regardless of the language or cultural background of patients at FHC, the same

screenings are routinely performed among all populations. These include: the Snellen Eye Chart

exam, Whisper Test, Get-Up-and-Go, clock drawing, PHQ-2 and 9, development tests for

children of all ages, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), among others. One of the

components of the Medicare Wellness Visit, as well as the only screening tool available for

cognitive impairment at FHC, is the MoCA (Appendix A). Thus, the purpose of this quality
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 3

improvement project was to assess whether this is the most culturally appropriate cognitive

assessment tool for Bhutanese refugees.

Evidence of Problem

As the culturally and linguistically diverse population at FHC continues to grow each

year, appropriate screening tools must be utilized. Prior to mid-2013, the “gold standard” of

cognitive assessment screening, the Mini-Mental Status Examination, was used at FHC.

However, new copyright laws restrict its use, and it was replaced by the MoCA.

At FHC, Bhutanese refugees undergo the same cognitive assessment screening as patients

originally from the United States, when a patient, family, or provider is questioning potential

cognitive impairment. During a recent case, a MoCA screening was observed with an 86-year-

old, illiterate, non-English speaking Bhutanese man. The patient was unable to complete all but

one of the tasks. The nurse and interpreter had to repeat instructions multiple times, and

adjustments were necessitated. For example, the letters included in the screening do not coincide

with the Nepali language, as Nepali has a different alphabet of consisting of 36 letters.

Following this experience, casual inquiries were made with nursing staff regarding their

insight with the MoCA and refugees. Nursing staff and providers were then surveyed regarding

their attitudes towards the MoCA. A total of 11 nurses and 16 providers responded to the

surveys (Appendices B and C).

Top barriers or challenges specified by nurses and providers when screening refugees

with the MoCA were as follows. One, the patient was illiterate in own native language; two, the

patient could not identify the animals in the drawings; three, the patient had difficulty with

dexterity. Seven of the 11 nurses that responded to the survey indicated they “strongly agree” or

“agree” that there has been a recent increase in the MoCAs being ordered, whereas the remaining
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 4

4 nurses were “neutral,” but did not “disagree.” Figures 1 and 2 identify the barriers and

challenges indicated by 7 nurses and 9 providers.

Patient was illiterate in own


native language
15%

25% Patient could not identify the


animals in the drawings (had
5% never been exposed to them
before)
No interpreter present

Patient had difficult with


25% dexterity (i.e. tremors)

30% Your personal comfort level


with the MoCA/its process

0%
Other (please specify)

Figure 1. Challenges and barriers identified by nurses using the MoCA with refugees.
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 5

Patient was illiterate in own


native language
5%
10% Patient could not identify the
animals in the drawings (had
never been exposed to them
before)
43% No interpreter present
14%

Patient had difficult with


dexterity (i.e. tremors)
9%

Your personal comfort level


with the MoCA/its process
19%

Other (please specify)

Figure 2. Challenges and barriers identified by providers using the MoCA with refugees.

When administering the MoCA, there are times when the screener has to repeat a

question numerous times to the patient. Interpreters may also actively try to explain questions in

more than one-way. Occasionally, family members are present, which can be distracting to the

patient, screener or interpreter. As a result, misdiagnosis or under-diagnosis may occur.

Timely and accurate screenings of cognitive impairment are essential so early

interventions can take place (Sayegh & Knight, 2013). There are several benefits to early

diagnosis of cognitive impairment, such as dementia. For example, the ability and knowledge to

prepare for future symptoms and life-style changes may help family and caregivers. Also, there

are pharmacological treatments that are available to slow-down the decline of impairment

(Sayegh & Knight, 2013).


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 6

Literature Review

A review of the literature was conducted to evaluate the most culturally appropriate

cognitive assessment tool for non-English speaking individuals. Several search engines and

databases were accessed to complete this search, including the University of New Hampshire’s

EbscoHost, as well as CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Google

Scholar. Key words included “universal,” “culturally appropriate,” “non-English, ” “screening

tool,” “dementia,” “multicultural,” “culturally and linguistically appropriate,” and

“transcultural.” Inclusion criteria included full-text articles published between 2009-2015, as

well as English-only versions. Fifteen articles were evaluated, and 4 were appropriate for the

purpose of this review.

The “Cognitive assessments in multicultural populations using the Rowland Universal

Dementia Assessment Scale: a systematic review and meta-analysis” examines the psychometric

properties of the RUDAS compared to the Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE), the gold

standard of cognitive assessment tools (Naqvi, Haider, Tomlinson, & Alibhai, 2015). Previous

studies were addressed regarding the MMSE and MoCA’s limitations in screening individuals

with low-education and that are non-English speaking. Of the 148 articles reviewed, 11 were

included from 6 different countries, which involved 1,236 participants. The correlation between

the RUDAS and MMSE was 0.77 (95% CI: 0.72-0.81). More specifically, a high specificity of

91.4% was determined across diverse cultures and immigrants when using the RUDAS

(Appendix D).

The effect of education and language on the MMSE and RUDAS was evaluated. The

original validation study of the RUDAS found that education (p=0.20) and language (p=0.33)

had no effect on scores. The second study suggests that the MMSE was significantly affected by
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 7

education level (p=0.016), whereas the RUDAS did not (p > 0.05). Next, a study determined an

association between scores of the MMSE and English as a first language (p < 0.01), but not with

the RUDAS (p=0.33). Last, another study found a lower correlation of the level of education for

the RUDAS (0.42), compared to the MMSE (0.76) (Naqvi, Haider, Tomlinson & Alibhai, 2015).

Naqvi, Haider, Tomlinson and Alibhai’s (2015) systematic review and meta-analysis

assessed the RUDAS in multicultural populations. There were multiple limitations addressed by

the authors. For example, complete data on literacy and education level was not included in the

several studies evaluated. Also, none of the studies included assessed the RUDAS scores over a

period of time, and only 2 studies included the test-rest reliability results (Naqvi, Haider,

Tomlinson and Alibhai, 2015). The authors did not mention, however, the limitation that many

of the studies included research from Australia, the country of origin of the RUDAS. As a result,

this may limit the generalizability to other populations. There may be potential bias, as many of

the studies included the researchers of the creators of the RUDAS itself.

The “Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale, Mini-Mental State Examination

and General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition [GPCOG] in a multicultural cohort of

community-dwelling older persons with early dementia” study was performed to address the

need for accurate screening tools of diverse populations (Basic et al., 2009). One hundred and

fifty one older adults from Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia were included in this study, and of

this total, 65 were born in non-English speaking countries. Memory impaired participants were

recruited from local memory clinics (33 with cognitive impairment, not dementia; 58 with

dementia), whereas the people with normal cognition were from a falls and balance clinic (60

with normal cognition) (Basic et al., 2009).


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 8

Correlations were assessed between the RUDAS, MMSE and GPCOG. A high

correlation was determined between the three cognitive tools, RUDAS and MMSE (p < 0.0001),

and the RUDAS and GPCOG (p < 0.0001). A sensitivity of the RUDAS was 87.7 (95% CI:

76.3-94.9), and specificity of 90.0 (95% CI: 79.5-96.2) (Basic et al., 2009). The RUDAS and

GPCOG were not impacted by culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, unlike the

MMSE. The authors identified a benefit to the RUDAS over the GPCOG in that the RUDAS

was specifically designed for diverse backgrounds. While, the RUDAS and GPCOG appeared

not to be influenced by education, age or gender, the GPCOG does include components that ask

participants to identify a current event, for example. Overall the participants were well educated,

which may have influenced the new finding that the GPCOG is not affected by educational level

(Basic et al., 2009).

Basic et al. (2009) compared the RUDAS, MMSE and GPCOG in a multicultural cohort

of participants. Several limitations were addressed. A majority of the non-English speaking

participants were from European countries, which limits the generalizability to other populations

(Basic et al., 2009). Also, the RUDAS and GPCOG assessments were limited to a small number

of dementia syndromes. The brain pathology was not assessed, leading to the possibility of

misdiagnosis (Basic et al., 2009). The research assistants were blinded to the RUDAS

administration, whereas the researchers who administered the MMSE and GPCOG were not.

Finally, the average education level of participants was higher than previous studies, so the

impact of low education on these screening tool scores was unavailable.

Pang, Yu, Pearson, Lynch and Fong’s (2009) pilot study evaluated the correlation of

scores of the MMSE and RUDAS of a multicultural population, as well as compare the amount

of time to complete the screening, and satisfaction of the patients and providers involved in the
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 9

process. Forty-six participants were recruited from the Eastern Health service, Victoria,

Australia from April to August 2007. Half of the non-English speaking participants spoke

Chinese, and the other half spoke a European language. Twenty percent (9/46 participants) had a

history of dementia, and the average number years of education was 8.4 with a standard

deviation of 2.1. It was determined that the providers favored the MMSE in general, but they

preferred the RUDAS for patients of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. While

the exact time difference was not indicated, the RUDAS took more time to perform than the

MMSE. The authors attribute this to the fact that providers are unfamiliar with the RUDAS, and

the time to perform the screening may lessen with experience. In conclusion, the authors

identified the RUDAS as an appropriate tool in the inpatient setting (Pang, Yu, Pearson, Lynch,

& Fong, 2009).

In Pang, Yu, Pearson, Lynch & Fong’s (2009) pilot study the implementation of future

research was not addressed. However, other limitations were identified by the authors, such as

the small sample size. Confounding variables were not identified, which potentially influences

the internal validity. Finally, their methods were not clearly identified, limiting the possibility of

replication of the study.

“Can Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) Replace Mini-Mental

State Examination (MMSE) for Dementia Screening in a Thai Geriatric Outpatient setting?”

assessed the performance of the cognitive impairment screening, as well as identify optimal cut-

off points (Limpawattana, Tiamkao, Sawanyawisuth, & Thinkhamrop, 2012). Two hundred

participants from the Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinic of Srinagarind Hospital medical school

were included in this study. Eighty-nine (44.5%) had dementia, 44.5% had no cognitive

impairment, and 11% had mild cognitive impairment. Pearson’s coefficient of 0.80 (95% CI:
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 10

0.745-0.85, p< .0001) was determined when assessing the RUDAS-Thai and MMSE-Thai, which

indicates the scores are highly correlated (Limpawattana, Tiamkao, Sawanyawisuth, &

Thinkhamrop, 2012). Based on the results of the Youden index, the recommended cut-off points

are 24 for both the MMSE-Thai and RUDAS-Thai (Youden index of cut-off of 24 for MMSE-

Thai was 0.45, and for RUDAS-Thai was 0.405). Results of the MMSE-Thai indicate an

influence of culture, language, age, and years of education on scores. On the other hand, the

RUDAS-Thai was only affected by educational level (Limpawattana, Tiamkao, Sawanyawisuth,

& Thinkhamrop, 2012).

Limpawattana, Tiamkao, Sawanyawisuth, and Thinkhamrop’s (2012) study compared the

validated MMSE-Thai and RUDAS-Thai in a geriatric outpatient setting. A sufficient sample

size was calculated by the ROC curve (AUC). A potential limitation in the misclassification of

dementia syndromes may be present, as the study did not include brain pathology or follow-up.

Also, the authors suggested, a dementia diagnosis is based upon clinical judgment, and there

currently is no biomarker that identifies it specifically. Notably, a majority of participants had 6

years of education or less, which limits the generalizability of results to other populations.

Global Aim

The global aim of this quality improvement project was to ensure that culturally

competent screenings are completed in a primary care setting.

Specific Aim

The specific aim of this quality improvement project was to increase the accuracy and

nurse, provider, and interpreter satisfaction of cognitive assessments of Bhutanese refugees over

the age of 55. This was completed by implementing the Rowland Universal Dementia

Assessment Scale from June 1 to July 13, 2015 in a medical home setting, in attempt to evaluate
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 11

accuracy of diagnoses and timeliness of interventions for this population. Also, an assessment of

provider, nurse and interpreter satisfaction with the MoCA and RUDAS was performed.

Methods

Setting

Concord Hospital Family Health Center (FHC) embraces multidisciplinary patient and

family-centered, low-cost care while utilizing evidence-based practice in a medical home. From

January 2009 to December 2014, FHC has provided care for a total of 1,176 refugee

patients. The top three countries are Bhutan (852 people), Democratic Republic of Congo (220

people), and Sudan (23 people). The most common language of refugees at FHC is Nepali

(67%), which is the primary language of the Bhutanese. The next most common languages are

Swahili (10%), and Kinyarwandan (8%).

Most of the Bhutanese refugees’ ancestors, also known as Lhotsampas (“People of the

south”), were originally from Nepal; therefore, the primary language of the Bhutanese is Nepali

and 60% are Hindu (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014). In the 1980’s

political turmoil ensued, as the King forced unification of the Hindu and Buddhist religions and

traditions. As a result, many Lhotsampas Bhutanese were forced to leave Bhutan, or chose to

resettle in Southeastern Nepal (CDC, 2014).

The top three priority health conditions of Bhutanese refugees are anemia, vitamin B-12

deficiency and mental health conditions, such as substance abuse and depression (CDC, 2014).

The providers, including residents, faculty, physician assistants, as well as nurses, administer the

MoCA to Bhutanese refugees. An interpreter is also present, and this is either the full-time, in-

house Nepali interpreter from FHC, or from an outside source.


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 12

Theoretical Framework

Madeleine Leininger’s Theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality was developed

to help guide care to those of different backgrounds and culture, while preventing helplessness of

the caretakers and patients themselves (Leininger, 1991). Modalities were created to guide

nursing judgments and decisions in effort to provide culturally congruent care. These include,

“cultural care preservation and/or maintenance,” “cultural care and accommodation and/or

negotiation,” and “cultural care repatterning or restructuring” (Leininger, 1991, p. 41-

42). Culturally congruent care incorporates patient-centered care, while respecting and

incorporating a patient’s beliefs, traditions and values.

Numerous theoretical premises were assumed for the purpose of the Culture Care

Diversity and Universality theory. First, acknowledgment of the existing differences among

cultures must be established (Leininger & McFarland, 2002). Further, education, religion,

politics, ethnohistory, and religion are integral concepts behind culture care, which are necessary

for the well-being and development of individuals. Additionally, in order for curing or healing

to take place, caring must exist and vice versa (Leininger & McFarland, 2002).

Intended Improvement

The intended improvement of this project was to increase culturally competent care by

implementing the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS), in lieu of the

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), with Bhutanese refugee patients over the age of 55.

Table 1 compares the similar screening elements of each tool. Ethical consideration was sought

from the IRB and the project was considered exempt (Appendix E).
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 13

Table 1

Qualitative Comparison of Categories of the MoCA and RUDAS

Category Montreal Cognitive Rowland Universal Dementia


Assessment (MoCA) Cognitive Assessment Scale
(RUDAS)
Language 1. Name as many words that Name as many animals as you
start with the letter ‘B’ in can in one minute.
one minute.
2. Repeat 2 identified
sentences.
Memory Repeat list of words “train, egg, We are going grocery shopping,
hat, chair, blue. Two trials to if and asked to remember list
1st trial unsuccessful at when we go to the store: “tea,
repeating. Recall performed cooking oil, eggs, soap.” Can
after 5 min. repeat list 5 times to patient.
Recall performed after 5
minutes.
Visuospatial/Executive 1. Connect/associate 1. Identify the different
numbers and letters. parts of the body.
2. Copy cylinder picture. 2. Copy the square.
3. Describe how you would
cross the road safely
with no pedestrian
crossing or stop light.

The RUDAS is a validated tool in multicultural backgrounds, and was found to be less

affected by educational level or preferred language than other commonly used screeners. The

RUDAS is easily translatable without having to change the format of questions. There are 6

items to this screening including memory/recall, visuospatial orientation, praxis,

visuoconstructional drawing, judgment, and language (Storey, Rowland, Conforti & Dickson,

2004). The RUDAS is out of 30 points total, and scores of 22 or less suggest possible cognitive

impairment (NSW Health Department & Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care,

2004).
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 14

Mixed methods were used as measures of improvement including qualitative

observations of the MoCA and RUDAS, and quantitative nurse/provider surveys in relation to

implementation of the culturally appropriate cognitive screening tool. A record review was done

to identify the number of Bhutanese refugees from May 2014 – April 2015 that were screened

with the MoCA. Ten patients were identified, of which all screened positive. Of the 10 patients

identified, an average score of 6.7, with 1 being the lowest score and 17 the highest was

determined; a score less than 10 suggests severe cognitive impairment (Nasreddine, 2015).

Next, the RUDAS was implemented with 7 of the same patients that completed the

MoCA in the same medical home setting. The patients were selected based upon provider and

patient willingness to participate in this quality improvement project. In two instances, a

provider performed the screening, and lead of this project was an observer to the process. The

other 5 screenings were administered by 2 nurses and the lead of this project.

Results

Of the Bhutanese refugees aged 55 and older who visited the clinic within the year, 10

had completed the MoCA. Seven of the 10 refugees were screened with the RUDAS. The

average age of participants was 67. The average score of the RUDAS was 16 (moderate),

compared to the average score of the MoCA of 8 (severe). See Table 2 for further scoring details

regarding the MoCA and RUDAS, and Table 3 for specific screening results of the 7 patients.

Table 2

Severity of Impairment of MoCA and RUDAS

Impairment Severity MoCA Score** RUDAS Score


Mild 26-18 22-19
Moderate 17-10 18-13
Severe Less than 10 13- 10
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 15

Very Severe N/A Less than 10


**One point added for less than 12 years of education.
(Nasreddine, 2015; J. Rowland, personal communication, July, 2, 2015)
Table 3

Comparisons of MoCA and RUDAS Scores with Bhutanese Refugees

Sex Age MoCA Score RUDAS Score

1 M 59/60*** 17 18
2 M 66 6 21
3 M 67 10 19
4 F 61 7 18
5 F 55 1 8
6 M 86 8 4
7 M 72 8 22

Averages M 67 8 16
***Patient had birthday between the MoCA and RUDAS screenings.

Following administration of the RUDAS, qualitative data was collected and a comparison

with the MoCA was completed, as exhibited in Table 4.

Table 4

Qualitative Observations of MoCA and RUDAS

MoCA RUDAS
Unable to recall list of items. Able to recall list of grocery items
Able to recall list of grocery items Appeared more relaxed in specific
environment.
Unable to identify words starting with letter Able to list several animals in 1 minute as
‘B’- no letter ‘B’ in alphabet. they were able to identify animals there were
familiar with.
Unable to complete A-B sequencing due to Able to identify parts of body.
illiteracy.
Some can draw cylinder, but none could Unable to draw cube.
complete clock drawing.

The 1 provider, 2 nurses and 1 in-house interpreter who administered the RUDAS

completed post-intervention surveys regarding their satisfaction with the alternative tool. All
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 16

surveyed preferred the RUDAS to the MoCA for Bhutanese refugees. The administrators also

stated they would recommend utilizing the RUDAS with other refugee populations. Likewise,

they indicated they felt either “comfortable” or “very comfortable” administering the RUDAS, in

comparison to the pre-intervention survey results, which identified a majority of staff felt “not at

all comfortable” with the MoCA.

Additional comments from the post-intervention surveys were collected:

“I found it much easier to administer this test and felt like the questions I was asking the patient

were appropriate screening questions for a person of any background and education level. It was

a much less stressful experience and I felt like the data gathered was far more valuable than the

data I have gathered in the past using MOCA on refugees.”

“It is simpler and easier to understand for people with ESL and lack of literacy.”

“More appropriate questions without education level bias.”

Conclusion

The implementation of the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) for

Bhutanese patients at the Concord Hospital Family Health Center (FHC) to increase the accuracy

of cognitive impairment screening is recommended. Providing culturally appropriate screening

tools in diverse populations potentially decreases the chance of misdiagnosis and under-

diagnosis. The RUDAS is a validated alternative tool that has the potential of providing accurate

and timelier diagnoses, resulting in a higher level of patient and family-centered care and

satisfaction. The RUDAS appears to be least affected by language and cultural background, as

well as educational level.

Recommendations
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 17

Future recommendations include assessment of the RUDAS with other refugee

populations, as well as with the general FHC population. For the purpose of this project, the in-

house Nepali interpreter was used for most of the RUDAS screenings. Therefore, it is

recommended the same interpreter be utilized for future screenings, as they would be aware of

the interpreting guidelines and clearly understand screening tool. Next, an evaluation of other

screening tools used in multicultural, non-English speaking, and illiterate populations can be

achieved in effort to provide culturally appropriate care.

Limitations

There are limitations to this quality improvement project. Potential confounding

variables, such as co-diagnoses, can impact the screening results. Also, there was up to a year

lapse in time between the two screenings. Potential bias includes the administrator and

interpreter of the screenings were not blinded to the project.

Implications for the Clinical Nurse Leader

A Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) plays a vital role in the medical home setting. With

especially vulnerable populations, such as refugees, CNLs need to advocate and promote staff

and patient education. As advocates, CNLs have the opportunity to bridge the gap within health

disparities, and influence policies in regards to patient care (American Association of Colleges of

Nursing [AACN], 2007). Along with advocacy, the CNL encourages self-care and health

awareness and promotion as a component of education (AACN, 2007). Advocating for patients

during transitions, such as moving to a new country, and understanding their backgrounds are

essential.

As educators, CNLs have the opportunity to utilize evidence-based practice, as it is the

foundation for all patient and family-centered care (AACN, 2007). This may include assessment
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 18

and evaluation of current practices and cultural appropriateness of screening tools, while

exploring alternative treatment options. However, an accurate and thorough risk assessment

must be achieved when exploring alternative evidence-based practices (AACN, 2007).

Meanwhile, protecting a patient’s safety and confidentiality are of upmost importance.

At a medical home, CNLs are active participants in the intra- and interdisciplinary teams

in effort to coordinate safe and appropriate care, while facilitating communication between

disciplines, as well as with patients and their families (AACN, 2007). CNLs have the ability to

facilitate continuity of care and more frequent communication with patients and their teams by

methods such as telehealth (AACN, 2007). This further develops a relationship built on trust and

respect.

CNLs foster a microsystem comprised of integrity, evidence-based practice, leadership,

quality, continuous education, culturally appropriate and self-care, and dignity. Therefore,

development of the CNL role in the medical home setting, such as FHC, has the potential to

improve patient outcomes and staff satisfaction.


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 19

References

Alzheimer’s Association. (2015). 2015 ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE FACTS AND FIGURES.

Retrieved from http://www.alz.org/facts/overview.asp

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2007). White paper on the education and role of

the clinical nurse leader. Retrieved from

http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/white-papers/ClinicalNurseLeader.pdf

Basic, D. D., Khoo, A., Conforti, D., Rowland, J., Vrantsidis, F., Logiudice, D., & Prowse, R.

(2009). Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale, Mini-Mental State Examination

and General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition in a multicultural cohort of

community-dwelling older persons with early dementia. Australian Psychologist, 44(1),

40-53. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1080/00050060802593593

Betancourt, J. R., Green, A. R., & Carrillo, J. E. (2002). CULTURAL COMPETENCE IN

HEALTH CARE: EMERGING FRAMEWORKS AND PRACTICAL APPROACHES.

The Commonwealth Fund. Retrieved from

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/usr_doc/betancourt_culturalcompetence_576.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Cognitive impairment: A Call for Action,

Now! Retrieved from

http://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/cognitive_impairment/cogimp_poilicy_final.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Bhutanese Refugee Health Profile.

Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/profiles/bhutanese/priority-

health-conditions/index.html

Cultural Orientation Resource Center. (2015). Arrival Statistics. Retrieved from

http://www.culturalorientation.net/learning/arrivals
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 20

Leininger, M. (1991). Culture Care Diversity and Universality Theory of Nursing. New York:

National League for Nursing Press.

Leininger, M., & McFarland, M. R. (2002). Transcultural Nursing: Concepts, Theories,

Research, and Practice (3 ed.). United States of America: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Limpawattana, P., Tiamkao, S., Sawanyawisuth, K., & Thinkhamrop, B. (2012). Can Rowland

Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) Replace Mini-Mental State

Examination (MMSE) for Dementia Screening in a Thai Geriatric Outpatient Setting?

American Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, 27(4), 254-259.

http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1177/1533317512447886

Naqvi, R. M., Haider, S., Tomlinson, G., & Alibhai, S. (2015). Cognitive assessments in

multicultural populations using the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale: A

systematic review and meta-analysis. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 187(5),

E169-E176. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1503/cmaj.140802

Nasreddine, Z. (2008). The Montreal Cognitive Assessment: Version 7.3 Alternative Version

[Image]. Retrieved from http://www.mocatest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/tests-

instructions/MoCA-Test-English_7_3%20June_13.pdf

Nasreddine, Z. (2015). Frequently Asked Questions. In Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

Retrieved from http://www.mocatest.org/faq/

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Refugee Facts. Retrieved

from http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/omh/refugee/facts.htm
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 21

NSW Health Department & Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care. (2004).

Administration and Scoring Guide. Retrieved from

https://fightdementia.org.au/sites/default/files/20110311_2011RUDASAdminScoringGui

de.pdf

Pang, J., Yu, H., Pearson, K., Lynch, P., & Fong, C. (2009). Comparison of the MMSE and

RUDAS cognitive screening tools in an elderly inpatient population in everyday clinical

use. Internal Medicine Journal, 39(6), 411-414. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1111/j.1445-

5994.2009.01918.x

Sayegh, P., & Knight, B. G. (2013). Cross-Cultural differences in dementia: the Sociocultural

Health Belief Model. International Psychogeriatrics, 25(4), 517-530.

http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S104161021200213X

Storey, J. E., Rowland, J. J., Conforti, D. A., & Dickson, H. G. (2004). The Rowland Universal

Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS): a multicultural cognitive assessment scale.

International Psychogeriatrics, 16(1), 13-31. doi:10.1017/S1041610204000043


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 22

Appendices
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 23

Appendix A

Montreal Cognitive Assessment

(Nasreddine, 2008)
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 24

Appendix B

Survey of Nurses

Survey results of 6 questions from 11 nurses regarding the current cognitive screening

assessment tool, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), at FHC.

1.
4.5
4 4
4
3.5
Number of responses

3
3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0 0
0
Have you seen an increase in MoCA screenings ordered for refugee
patients over the past year?
Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree

2.
8
7
7

6
Number of responses

2
1
1

0
Have you ever given a MoCA screening to a refugee patient?
Yes No
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 25

3.
How comfortable do you feel administering the MoCA to
refugee patients?
7
6
6
Number of responses

3
2
2

0
Very Comfortable Somewhat Not at all
comfortable comfortable comfortable

Comments
“MoCA appears to be designed for English speaking North American patient.”
“I am concerned our current assessment tool does not provide valid data with this
patient population.”
“Many refugee patient's are of the older generation and are illiterate in their native
language and would not recognize the English alphabet, have animals that they need to
identify which they would never have seen in their lifetime, and/or an alphabet which
does not include the same letters as the English alphabet would.”
“Very difficult experience - even had 2 interpreters.”
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 26

4.
8
7
7
Number of responses

6
5
4
3
2
1
1
0
Have you encountered any challenges in giving the MoCA to
refugee patients?
Yes No

5.
7
Patient was illiterate in own
6 native language
6

5 5 Patient could not identify the


5 animals in the drawings (had
never been exposed to them
Number of responses

before)
4
No interpreter present

3
3
Patient had difficult with
dexterity (i.e. tremors)
2

1 Your personal comfort level


1
with the MoCA/its process

0
0
Other (please specify)
If you answered 'yes' to #4, what were the
possible barriers/challenges in giving the
screening to a refugee patient? (Select all
that apply)
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 27

6.
Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?
“We need to not do an English MoCA on a non-English speaking patient unless it is in
their own language somehow.”
“Not a fair or valid tool for the refugee population due to the necessity of translation.”
“I think a cognitive test which does not include a clock, many refugees have not seen a
clock until they come to the United States, or the test which requires sequential tracing
(ie; A-1-B-2-C-3....) as many, because of illiteracy, are unable to fathom how these
"symbols" correlate to one another.”
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 28

Appendix C

Survey of Providers

Survey results of 8 questions from 16 providers (DOs, Physician Assistants and MDs) regarding

the current cognitive screening assessment tool, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), at

FHC.

1.
10
9
9
8
Number of responses

7
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Do you order the MoCA screening for refugee patients? (If 'no,'
there is not need to continue this survey)
Yes No

2.
6
5
5
Number of respones

4
4

1
0 0
0
If you answered 'yes' to #1, how often do you order the MoCA
for refugee patients?
Once a week or more Once or twice a month
Once every 3 months Once a year or less
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 29

3.
9
8
8

7
Numer of responses

2
1
1
0
0
What is the average age of refugee patients the MoCA is ordered for?
65 of older 64 to 40 39 or younger

4.
7
6 6
6
Number of responses

2
1
1
0
0
Who performs the actual screening (Select all that apply)
DO/MD/Physician Assistant Medical Assistant Nurse Other (please specifiy
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 30

5.
4.5
4
4
3.5
Number of responses

3
3
2.5
2
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
0
How often do you receive a positive screening from the MoCA of
refugee patients?
Frequently Sometimes Infrequently Never

6.

Have you experienced any challenges in using the MoCA with


refugee patients?
9
8
8
7
Number of responses

6
5
4
3
2
2
1
0
Yes No
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 31

7.
10
9 Patient was illiterate in own
9 native language

8
Patient could not identify the
7
Number of responses

animals in the drawings (had


never been exposed to them
6 before)
5 No interpreter present
4
4
3
3 Patient had difficult with
2 2 dexterity (i.e. tremors)
2
1
1 Your personal comfort level
with the MoCA/its process
0
If you answered 'yes' to #6, what were
the possible barriers/challenges in using Other (please specify)
the screening with a refugee? (Select all
that apply)

Other (please specify)


“Hard to differentiate dementia from illiteracy, once patient was blind with cataracts no
one had noticed before.”
8.
Do you have any other comments, questions, or concerns?
“It is important to be able to screen for dementia, and we need a culturally relevant tool,
perhaps for our biggest subpopulation e.g. Bhutanese.”
“The MoCA is an inadequate diagnostic test for refugee patients, but I do not know of
anything better.”
“I am a provider and I don't know what the most appropriate evidence based tool is for
performing MoCA on non English speaking pts. Especially as MoCA is time sensitive as
well. Very interesting project!”
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 32

Appendix D

Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 33

(Storey, Rowland, Conforti & Dickson, 2004)


A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 34

Appendix E

May 28, 2015

Holly Milligan, SN
Karen Decker-Gendron, RN, MS, CNL
Patricia Finn, RN, MS
Family Health Center-Concord
250 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301

Dear Ms. Milligan et al,

After review of the Protocol for “A Culturally Appropriate Cognitive Assessment Screening for
Bhutanese Refugees” study, I have determined it to be exempt from Human Investigation
Committee (IRB) review based on the regulatory guidance cited below:

CFR Title 45 Part 46.101


(b) Unless otherwise required by department or agency heads, research activities in which the
only involvement of human subjects will be in one or more of the following categories are
exempt from this policy:

(2) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement),
survey procedures, interview procedures or observation of public behavior,; and unless: (i)
Information obtained is recorded in such a manner that human subjects can be identified,
directly or through identifiers linked to the subjects (ii) any disclosure of the human subjects'
responses outside the research could reasonably place the subjects at risk of criminal or civil
liability or be damaging to the subjects' financial standing, employability, or reputation.

(3) Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive, diagnostic, aptitude, achievement),
survey procedures, interview procedures, or observation of public behavior that is not exempt
under paragraph (b) (2) of this section, if: (i) The human subjects are elected or appointed public
officials or candidates for public office; or (ii) federal statute(s) require(s) without exception that
the confidentiality of the personally identifiable information will be maintained throughout the
research and thereafter.

Based on our understanding of your project, you are comparing the results of two
different commonly used cognitive tests, MoCA and RUDAS. However, please note that
if at any point in time there are changes to the project, the protocol will require prior IRB
approval.
A CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT 35

Thank you for bringing the protocol before the Human Investigation Committee for appropriate
review prior to its inception.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, you may contact Lisa Rocheford, Research and
Education Coordinator at 603-227-7000 x3540.

Sincerely,

Andrew Westbrook, MD
Andrew Westbrook, MD, Chair
Human Investigation Committee